Just a day after a landmark court ruling declaring that the UK must admit more migrants from Calais, French officials have been ordered to scour the camps to identify suitable candidates.
Yesterday it was reported that an Immigration and Asylum Tribunal had ruled that four Syrian migrants currently living in the so-called “jungle” camp must be brought to Britain and reunite with family members already here.
Lawyers for the four invoked Article 8 of the European Convention of Human rights, which entitles them to a family life. Previously the UK had been able to keep migrants in Calais out by insisting they must apply for asylum in the first nation they entered – under the Dublin Convention.
Since the ruling set a new precedent, however, French authorities have wasted no time in seeking to move as many of the Calais migrants into the UK.
A French interior ministry document seen by the Times has requested officials “identify those migrants who have particular ties to the United Kingdom, allowing their legal transfer to that country under the discretionary clauses planned by Dublin III regulation.”
Adding: “It is essential that a significant number of cases are brought to the attention of the Asylum Service of the General Directorate of Foreigners in France, so the latter may request their benevolent consideration by British authorities.
“You will ensure that all migrants in reception and orientation centres are informed of this possibility.”
The Home Office plans to appeal. A spokesman said: “We stand by the well-established principle that those seeking protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. The court still requires these individuals to claim asylum in France before they can come to the UK.”
Laura Griffiths, a volunteer with the U.S. hedge-fund backed Citizens UK, told journalists there was a feeling of “joy” in the camp since the first migrants were due to arrive at St Pancras last night, where activists held a welcome party.